Dr Omane Boamah, former Communications Minister
Dr Omane Boamah

Rest In Perfect Peace Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings (Rtd), President of the Republic of Ghana (1993 – 2001).

The last time we met was in February, 2020 just before COVID-19 entered Ghana’s shores. We had a cordial conversation. You were fit and showed no signs of an early exit – but God knows best.

You transitioned Ghana from a dictatorship into a democracy in 1992. Some have said, “you had no choice/alternative” because the democratic forces in Ghana were too strong. That’s a great argument, only true to an extent. But those who argue this way ignore both history and the present.

Presently, right here in West Africa to the west of Ghana in La Cote d’Ivoire, President Alhassane Ouattara has ousted democracy, supervised the alteration of their constitution and has won for himself a third consecutive term in office. He won that election by a whopping 94%: to the admiration of the ghosts of Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Felix Houphouet-Boigny who ruled the same country for thirty-three years (1960 to 1993) until he died.

Furthermore, in Togo, the Gnassingbe dynasty continues. For fifty-four years altogether, the Presidency of Togo has only seen a Gnassingbé (Eyadéma from 1967 – 2005 and his son, handsome Faure from 2005…)

In the past, Burkina Faso our northern neighbour also witnessed Blaise Compaoré who overthrew his progressive friend Captain Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara and led their country from 1987 to 2014. Twenty-seven years. Other leaders such as Yahaya Jammeh of Gambia, Omar Bongo of Gabon (1967 – 2009), Eduardo Do Santos of Angola, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Denis Sassau Nguesso of the Republic of Congo and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who has been in charge of his country since the fall of Idi Amin and Milton Obote in 1986 and just claimed victory over Bobi Wine were also not a great company and role models. But you did not emulate them.

President Rawlings, that you opted for democracy wins you great praise. Even though we had a difference over the style and direction of President Atta Mills’ governance – it was a disagreement borne out of principle and conviction. Nothing more; nothing less.

As Ghana calls to mind your task on earth and you meet your maker, I wish you eternal rest in the bosom of Father Abraham where Lazarus who once was poor dwells.

Fare Thee Well.